Sat down with Bradley Andrews of BuffaLowDown for 5 questions (if you want to call exchanging emails “sitting down”):
Q: What’s the feeling about Ryan Fitzpatrick? Good, bad, indifferent?
A: I think the most typical answer would be “good, but still nervous.” It’s hard not to like Fitz, who’s a good guy and great leader for this team. And when Fitz is playing well, he’s definitely good enough to lead this team to the playoffs. But he just hasn’t been consistently effective. Fitz’s arm strength and accuracy are borderline for an NFL starter, so when he’s off, he’s really struggling. He’ll have to prove he can be consistently play well over a 16-game schedule.
Q: How’s the defense coming along? Folks must be excited about Mario Williams joining the team.
A: Expectations are really high for this defense, especially on the line. Obviously, the Mario Williams signing is huge. He gives the Bills some desperately needed elite-level talent. But the other three starters on the line (DE Mark Anderson and DTs Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus) are also capable of wreaking havoc in the opponent’s backfield. The Bills are really hoping they can beat Tom Brady and the Patriots the way the Giants have – with four really good pass rushers on the line pressuring Brady, letting the other seven guys drop into coverage.
Q: Steve Johnson expressed public disappointment with the offensive performance against the Redskins. Any concerns about that side of the ball?
A: The offense hasn’t looked great yet – and it’s starting to get a bit worrisome. The Bills returned nearly everybody from last season’s offense, so continuity shouldn’t be an issue…but the team has looked out-of-sorts so far. Now, before we sound the alarm too loud, we should mention that the Bills didn’t run the ball at all with the starters in the Washington game. The Fred Jackson/C.J. Spiller rushing attack is going to be a major part of this offense, so when those two start getting the ball more, it should open things up a bit for the passing attack.
Q: Any rookies making an impression yet?
A: First-round pick CB Stephon Gilmore has looked fantastic and has basically nailed down a starting job. Really early to tell, of course, but he could be a star. Second-round OT Cordy Glenn is a massive man who might win the starting role on the left side. People killed the Bills for taking WR T.J. Graham in the third round, but he’s done nothing but impress early. Buffalo’s fourth-round picks – LB Nigel Bradham and CB Ron Brooks – might also earn some time in the regular season.
Q: What are your expectations for the upcoming season? Can the Bills make a run?
A: Expectations are definitely high. This team should be good, and the schedule is easy enough that the Bills should be able to make a run. If the Bills get manage to get to Week 11 still in contention, here’s the rest of the schdule: Miami, @ Indy, Jacksonville, St. Louis, Seattle, @ Miami, New York Jets….not exactly murderer’s row. The Bills could really get hot down the stretch and maybe, just maybe become a factor in the playoffs.